Exchange Club gears up for annual fair

Published 6:00 pm Friday, July 8, 2011

Weeks ago, locals started spending moretime than usual at Exchange Club Park with paint brushes, toolsetsand cleaning supplies.

    These people are Brookhaven Exchange Club members and othervolunteers who dedicate their time and effort to prepare the parkfor its annual hosting of the Exchange Club Fair.

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    Although the fair does not start until the end of the month, clubmembers and volunteers work tirelessly to prepare the park and therides for the popular summer festival.

    “Members, their families and other community volunteers arefantastic volunteer help,” Exchange Club president Stan Fostersaid. “Without their support, we couldn’t run the fair.”

    Foster explained just how much of a community occasion the fairreally is. From setting it up to running it and the people who comeout to enjoy it, the entire production is a clear-cut example ofthe unity among the citizens of Brookhaven.

    “It’s the primary fundraiser of the Exchange Club,” he said. “Andwe bring the money right back into the community. It’s a totalcommunity event.”

    Local citizens set up the fair. Local citizens run the food stands,rides and games. Local citizens come to purchase food and ticketsto enjoy themselves and support the club.

    The Exchange Club takes the money it makes from the fair and putsit toward scholarships and other non-profit organizations in thearea, Foster said.

    “I think it’s just another piece of the puzzle that makesBrookhaven such a unique place,” Foster said. “We have some greatlocal businesses here in town, some great medical services andgreat education. And the fair is one of the few remaining locallyowned and operated fairs. And we pump what is made right back intothe community.”

    Stan Long, vice president and fair chairman for the Exchange Club,said that among the causes they donate to and work with are thefood pantry and the battered women’s shelter, as well as keeping tothe club’s primary national mission of preventing child abuse.

    Long said they expect good numbers in terms of attendance thisyear.

    “We’re expecting a total of 10,000 people,” Long said. “We’ll breakwell over that mark, I’m going to say.”

    The fair starts Friday July 29 and runs until Saturday Aug. 6, withthe exception of being closed Sunday, July 31. Times for each dayto attend are 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission to the fair is free.

    New to the fair this year will be the “Scrambler” ride, but all thelongtime favorites will be there with the same great food and gamesas well.

    “It’s a great family atmosphere,” Foster said. “We like to create aplace where you can drop off your kids and feel like they’resafe.”

    Long said the fair is particularly exciting for children because itis traditionally held when summer vacation is ending and school islooming around the corner.

    “We like to make it a sort of back to school event,” Long said. “Itgives students something pleasant to do before the school yearstarts again.”